'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, November 21, 2011

Egypt Erupts (Part 14) 

UPDATE: Protesters battle their way towards the Interior Ministry:

INITIAL POST: Street battles have erupted in central Cairo as protesters in opposition to the post-Mubarak military government engage in confrontations with the security forces. From the Guardian:

Thirty-three people are reported to have been killed in the violence over the past three days according to morgue officials. The ministry of health said more than 1,500 have been injured in the latest clashes in and around Tahrir Square - the worst bout of violence in Egypt since the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Witnesses said protesters had been hit by rubber bullets and suffocated with aggressive tear gas. Video has been circulating of police apparently beating protesters, including some lying on the ground. The International Federation for Human Rights accused the policemen of using live ammunition on protesters. Reports indicated that demonstrators were responding by hurling stones and molotov cocktails.

Crowds in Tahrir Square have been growing and clashes continuing as night has fallen in the Egyptian capital. Riot police are continuing to fire teargas and casualties continue to be taken to the field hospital Chants have called for the trial or execution of Scaf head Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

The Revolutionary Youth Movement has called for a one million man march in the capital and across the country tomorrow. Other groups have reportedly echoed the call.

According to Jack Shenker of the Guardian, more people are going out into the streets to battle the security forces and the revolt is spreading beyond Cairo:

Major unrest spread beyond Cairo to the large cities of Suez and Alexandria, where at least one leading activist was killed. Mass demonstrations and attacks on police stations were reported in several other towns throughout the Nile delta and southern Egypt.

His account of the street battles on Saturday is striking:

Throughout Saturday, protesters fought running battles with central security forces – a hated symbol of brutality under the Mubarak dictatorship.

Motorbikes ferried hundreds of wounded civilians to a makeshift field hospital on the edge of Tahrir Square, where a handful of doctors, helped by volunteers, struggled to deal with the influx.

We are seeing many patients suffering from severe gas inhalation and flesh wounds from different types of ammunition, Amr Wageeh, a 21-year-old medical student, said.

I've been here four hours and helped treat over 100 in that time – it's hard because the teargas that's being used is stronger than what we've dealt with in the past and appears resistant to [the normal remedies of] vinegar and soda.

An al-Jazeera report yesterday reflects the intensity of the street violence that has erupted in Cairo:

According to Hossam el-Hamalawy, a general strike will be necessary to topple the post-Mubarak military regime:

As el-Hamalawy explained in his al-Jazeera interview, the military has governed Egypt as an extension of Mubarak in order to preserve the economic privileges Mubarak awarded them. They have also labored to preserve the 1978 peace treaty with Egypt despite public opposition to it. Not surprisingly, the United States, as noted by As'ad Abukhalil, has been silent on the violence in Egypt:

In 3 days in Egypt, the government of Tantawi has managed to butcher 30 Egyptians and injure more than a 1000. Yet, there is no uproar in the Arab League or the UN. The US and EU--make no mistake about it--are complicit all in order to save your precious peace treaty with Israel.

Hence, the US sells the Egyptian military the tear gas that it uses against the protesters.

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